India tells Canada to remove 40 diplomats amid rift

New Delhi (Caasimada Online) – In the wake of rising tensions between India and Canada, India has reportedly urged Canada to pull out approximately 40 of its diplomatic personnel.

This move, reported initially by the Financial Times, implies that any diplomat who remains post 10th October would be stripped of their diplomatic immunity. This comes as the diplomatic balance is off-kilter.

Delhi hosts a considerably higher number of Canadian diplomats than Ottawa has Indian representatives.

Arindam Bagchi, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, mentioned, “This is being sought because of Canadian diplomatic interference in our internal affairs.”

The spark of dispute 

Tensions reached a boiling point between the two nations, historically known for their close ties, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed a finger at India.

In September, Trudeau implicated India in the 18th June assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh and vocal supporter of the Khalistan movement.

Masked assailants tragically gunned down Nijjar outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia. India, having labeled Nijjar a terrorist in 2020, flatly denied these accusations.

In an address to the Canadian parliament, Trudeau mentioned that their intelligence agencies were probing if “agents of the government of India” played a role in Nijjar’s demise.

While both nations have since expelled a diplomat from each other’s soil, the strain hasn’t stopped there.

As of 21st September, citing “security threats” at its missions in Canada, India ceased issuing visas to Canadian nationals.

Furthermore, Canada declared a cut in its diplomatic staff present in India due to reported threats some received on social media.

“In light of the current environment where tensions have heightened, we are taking action to ensure the safety of our diplomats,” a Canadian statement explained. However, Canada’s visa services continue to operate in India.

World urges cooperation

The international community, including nations like the US, UK, and Australia, have rallied to support a thorough investigation, pressing Delhi to work hand-in-hand with Canada.

These tensions are rooted in the Khalistan movement, which Nijjar ardently backed.

Advocating for a separate Sikh homeland named Khalistan, this movement saw its zenith during the 1980s with a violent insurgency in India’s Sikh-dominated Punjab state, which was eventually suppressed.

In the midst of this unfolding diplomatic crisis, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his hopes for a resolution.

“We’re going to continue to engage responsibly and constructively with the government of India,” he asserted. The Indian foreign ministry, when approached for comment, chose to remain tight-lipped on the situation.